By Kathleen De Vere From Inside Social Games
Gaia Online's hit social game Monster Galaxy is expanding again, but not to Google+ or Android. This time, the monster training and collecting franchise is making the leap to the big screen as a feature-length animated movie produced by Radar Pictures.
Gaia Online is not the first developer you've seen recently with silver screen aspirations. Rovio is currently working on an Angry Birds movie and Outfit7 have stated they want to turn the Talking Friends series into an entertainment franchise; however, as far as you know, this marks the first time a Facebook game will become a movie.
Monster Galaxy quickly became one of the most popular games on the Facebook platform this year, peaking at just over 19.2 million MAU and 15 million DAU in June. As the game is apparently reaching the end of its lifespan, these figures have fallen more than 80% to its current level of 1.8 million MAU and just under 200,000 DAU according to AppData traffic tracking service.
Gain Online released a free-to-play spin off of the game on iOS in September, but it hasn't seen the same level of success as the Facebook version of the game did after it was released. In the last month Monster Galaxy: The Zodiac Islands peaked at the 90 spot on the top grossing apps chart, but has since declined and is currently ranked in the lower 200s.
Gameplay wise, Monster Galaxy takes heavy inspiration from Nintendo's Pokémon franchise. Much like Pokémon, in the Monster Galaxy games, players start off as a trainer traveling the world to battle and capture intelligent monsters called Moga. Monster Galaxy's move to the movies also mirrors Pokémon's development path. Nintendo grew the franchise, which started life as a pair of Game Boy games into a multimedia empire through anime and movie tie ins that promoted the games and their associated products all over the world.
Despite its lagging popularity, where Monster Galaxy has a leg up on Pokémon is in its availability. While it was reported this summer that Nintendo would finally be bringing a Pokémon spin-off title called Pokémon Snap to iOS in Japan, so far Nintendo has been resisting pressure from investors to put any major effort into iOS development, fearing it would cut into the company's hardware business. In September Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said iOS development was "absolutely not under consideration." Incidentally, there are 14 Pokémon movie adaptations to date.
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